GREEN DAY - "¡Uno!": Step one in Green Day's long-winded answer to the question of what's next after two rock operas in a row might take a couple of listens to warm up to. Scaled down in comparison to "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown," "¡Uno!" is the most unassuming Green Day album yet. There is no obvious breakthrough single present, no instantly adoptable anthems, and no truly audacious stylistic experiments aside from the uneven "Kill the DJ," a dub echo-soaked, Clash-channeling dance track that at fewer than four minutes nevertheless feels unnaturally overlong. - AJ Ramirez
MUMFORD & SONS - "Babel": Mumford & Sons seem to have figured out that there is more than one way to put together a song. This tweaking of their songwriting technique gives this album a decent flow, and makes it a much smoother listen than "Sigh No More." While there are some real gems here, occasionally the songs tend to fade into generic background folk music. This happens near the album's end in particular. The band still takes the "all hands on deck" approach too often, pulling out the horn section and background electric guitars to make a huge clamor. Still, the band has made small but significant strides since their first album. "Babel" isn't a great album, but it's a good one. - Chris Conaton
NO DOUBT - "Push and Shove": After Gwen Stefani's hugely successful solo career, a new No Doubt album seems unnecessary, unless the band's goal is to reconstitute ska into an even more morbid form. Avid No Doubt fans - apart from those who stopped at "Tragic Kingdom" - may not care and buy the release anyway. If that happens, Stefani and crew will hopefully be rich enough to stop caring about the cool kids and cease all the posturing. If the band wises up that much, maybe they'll write songs exclusively for shopping malls on the next go round. - Maria Schurr
LUPE FIASCO - "Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1": The Chicago MC's latest proves to be a fine collection of a thinking man's idea of hip-hop, though the "Food & Liquor" tag he forced upon this release doesn't do him any favors. At his best, Fiasco is a wordsmith doing all he can to utilize the age-old hip-hop tradition of contradiction in his verses. "B*tch Bad," maybe the most interesting track of the bunch, highlights this element of his approach to enormous acclaim. In addition to being a clever tome on how the word's commonality in most people's everyday lexicon is unjust and troubling, it's also a reminder of how inventive the guy can be in his structure. All told, it stands on par with the best Lupe Fiasco has ever been. - Colin McGuire
JOHN HIATT - "Mystic Pinball": John Hiatt's lyric-writing prowess is as strong as ever on his latest, "Mystic Pinball," but the album's polished mix of country, rock and blues never offers any surprises. Many Hiatt fans will probably be pretty happy with "Mystic Pinball." It delivers the same musical goods that have been Hiatt's specialty for decades. And the lyrics are as sharp as any in Hiatt's body of work. But those who had hoped for another masterpiece from this veteran artist, something like Hiatt's 1987 gem "Bring the Family," for instance, might be a bit disappointed by an album that offers familiar pleasures without stretching for new ones. - Matt Arado
Other notable releases this week:
As I Lay Dying - "Awakened"
The Bad Plus - "Made
Joe Bonamassa - "Beacon Theatre: Live From New York"
Dave Douglas Quintet - "Be Still"
Kurt Elling - "1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project"
Steve Harris - "British Lion"
Waylon Jennings - "Goin Down Rockin: The Last Recordings"
Lucy Kaplansky - "Reunion"
Bettye LaVette - "Thankful N' Thoughtful"
Medeski, Martin & Wood - "Free Magic"
Murder By Death - "Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon"
R.E.M. - "Document (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)"
Lee Ritenour - "Rhythm Sessions"
Richie Sambora - "Aftermath of the Lowdown"
Ricky Skaggs - "Music to My Ears"
Sotho Sounds - "Junk Funk"
NOW HEAR THIS
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Celebrates Major Milestone with Two New Releases
Next week is huge for one of the finest bands on the planet. The National Treasure that is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band have two new releases on tap: the first is a live recording of their Carnegie Hall appearance in 2012, "St. Peter & 57th St." and the second is a massive box set, "50th Anniversary Collection."
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been around since 1961, when Ben Jaffe's father, Allan Jaffe, also a tuba player, started the group with local New Orleans musicians to preserve and enhance NOLA's unique musical heritage. The last 50 years have seen numerous line-ups and even multiple bands at the same time and these groups have traveled the globe spreading their joyful and soulful classic jazz sounds. Of course, Preservation Hall is also a major tourist attraction itself, and many fortunate souls have had the chance to hear the group play on home turf over the years.
The "50th Anniversary Collection" features highlights from the various line-ups over the years, tracing the band's history in fine detail. Meanwhile, "St. Peter & 57th St." is all about the here and now. For years, the Pres Hall band has been pushing the boundaries of traditional jazz while keeping the roots in place. Therefore, they have played Bonnaroo and collaborated with all manner of musicians from rock to hip-hop, bluegrass to indie. That exploratory nature is on full display with the new live recording, which features appearances from the Del McCoury Band (this version of "I'll Fly Away" is the best set to wax), Allen Toussaint, Steve Earle, Mos Def, King Britt, Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, and more.
It was an amazing night, as Ben Jaffe describes: "I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary than making music with our all our friends on one stage. The night was magic. It didn't matter what you played or where you came from, that night, we were all part of the same New Orleans family. What an amazing way to pay tribute to one of our great treasures, Preservation Hall." - Sarah Zupko
Soundgarden to Release New Album 'King Animal'
The massively influential Soundgarden is returning this fall with their first new album in more than 15 years. "King Animal" will be released on November 13th, but before then the perfectly titled first single "Been Away Too Long" will hit the online shops on September 27th.
Roger Miller of Mission of Burma Releases "Big Steam" Video
Mission of Burma guitarist and cofounder Roger Miller has released a rousing new single, "Big Steam," via Good Road Recordings. The accompanying video offers a disorienting stream of found footage, color manipulation, and shots of roller coasters and trains in motion. Featuring Larry Dersch (The Binary System) and Brian Arnold, both the track and its flipside, "Dream Interpretation," have been described by Miller as "a deliberate sonic referencing of Pink Floyd's 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn.'" - Zach Schonfeld
Jessie Ware - "Night Light" (video)
The new video for Jessie Ware's mesmerizing "Night Light" features sultry dance moves. It's a gorgeous slow jam directed by Chris Sweeney.
AlunaGeorge - "Your Drums Your Love" (video)
Britain's AlunaGeorge release a new video for "Your Drums Your Love," a song swathed in their trademark gentle electronic beats and sweet R&B vocals. Super catchy and addictive.
Muse - "Panic Station" (video)
Muse showed off their new song, "Panic," at a gig this past week in Cologne, Germany. That tune and several others from their upcoming new LP, The 2nd Law were played at the show.
Wilco - "Sunloathe" (video)
Wilco's latest video is an animated one directed by Peter Glantz and illustrated by Nathaniel Murphy. The video is timed perfectly to the resumption of Wilco's U.S. tour, which will see them crisscross the country.
Souljazz Orchestra - "Conquering Lion" (video)
Souljazz Orchestra's new album "Solidarity" was recorded with vintage analog equipment and the band carries that aesthetic into their new video "Conquering Lion." Here the group is caught in live performance with vintage video gear.
Diplo - "About That Life" (feat. Jahan Lennon) (video)
Diplo's new single "About That Life" just released and the tune features Jahan Lennon, who dresses up like the fellow who shares his surname in the video.
Dirty Projectors - "About to Die" (video)
Dirty Projectors have announced a new EP releasing November 6th featuring the "About to Die" track from "Swing Lo Magellan," as well as three new songs. The video was written and directed by David Longstreth and produced by Pitchfork.TV.
Rockabilly Goddess Rosie Flores Releases New Album in October
"Working Girl's Guitar" is perhaps the perfect title for a new single/album from the boppin' singer/guitarist Rosie Flores, who shows that girls can rock with an axe as good as the boys.
On her new album of the same name, Flores handles every guitar part on the record as well production duties. The title tune may as well be Flores' bio as she tells the story of her life from the vantage point of her guitar.
Why? - "Strawberries" (MP3)
Why? releases their second single, "Strawberries," off their upcoming new album Mumps, Etc. that's dropping on October 9th.
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